Dr. Roger B. Daniels

Roger B. Daniels, MD, considers his calling as a physician a sacred trust. He knows this sentiment sounds corny, but he doesn’t care — he feels it in his heart. “To be intimately involved in the lives of people, to be trusted and to have the opportunity to influence so many aspects of their lives — I don’t know how a person can ask for more.”

Daniels’ attitude, his skill and his insistence on responding not only to his patients’ physical problems but also to their emotional and personal needs has made him one of the most respected and beloved doctors in the Philadelphia area for almost four decades.

Daniels grew up in a New York family of modest means where education was paramount. He obtained scholarships to Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1960.

After an internship, residency and a fellowship in Boston, Daniels entered the Army and served as captain with the 44th MASH Unit in Korea and then followed his overseas service with a year at Valley Forge General Hospital. He started his civilian career at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia and moved across town two years later, affiliating with Pennsylvania Hospital. The “persuasiveness” of Joseph S. Gonnella, MD, dean of Jefferson Medical College at the time and now director of Jefferson’s Asano-Gonnella Center for Research in Medical Education & Health Care, brought Daniels to Jefferson in 1997.

The love of knowledge and learning that Daniels developed as a boy expanded into a passion for medicine with fulfillment in teaching and practice. He finds joy in watching students and residents absorb information and gets deep satisfaction in seeing the comfort that his detailed explanations bring patients.

Daniels routinely is listed in the Best Doctors in America and is a fellow in the American College of Physicians. In 2008, the organization honored him with the Pennsylvania Clinical Practice Award. The small plaque that hangs in his office cites his service to his patients, community and profession. “I can imagine no greater honor,” he said. So admired is Daniels that in 2011, a group of his colleagues and patients at Jefferson joined together to establish an associate deanship in professionalism in his name.

Daniels likes to tell a story about eating lunch with two prominent surgeons complaining about their income. One surgeon looked at the other and remarked that Daniels would probably work for nothing, and everyone laughed. “But you know what? I probably would,” he said.